Our Dragons' Den Experience | Pitch or Heave

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“You should be on Dragon’s Den!” I’ve been hearing that comment since 2008.

So the idea of Abeego being on the Den has been floating around in the Universe since the early days. Everywhere we went we were met with the same enthusiastic prompts to get our butts on Dragon’s Den, and fast. Year after year, the auditions rolled around right after we finished catching our breaths after a hyper busy holiday season and year after year I’d say, “Next year. Next year, I’ll be ready to pitch!”

On March 15, 2016 my perfection paralysis was abruptly halted when I was contacted directly by CBC’s Dragon’s Den. They asked if I’d ever thought of pitching, to which my reply was, “Yeah, only every single day since the launch of my company!” And just like that, I was thrust into my Dragons' Den Audition. On April 15th, just a month from the initial call and my actual audition, I was invited to pitch. I only needed to get myself to Toronto mid May to film the episode. No problem. The price of a plane ticket and the cost of a hotel were well worth the opportunity. But...

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We were in the middle of a re-brand and didn’t have anything ready to present.

As many of you know Abeego looks a lot different now than it did last year at this time. When I got the confirmation call, we were still selling our old packaging. We knew it’d be a missed opportunity if we didn’t take our new look on the Den for two reasons. One, it was going to blow the Dragons' socks off and two, it’d be the brand the nation saw should our episode ever go to air. Only the new look and brand wasn't even close to finished and wouldn't launch for another four months at the earliest.

The real work needed to begin. For the next four weeks we pulled on every resource and favor we could. We met, connected and strategized with everyone that make our brand look great. Together, we carved, molded and shaped our collective vision into what would become the future brand of Abeego. This meant that the Dragons would only see the future of my brand, just days after I did and they'd be none the wiser. Three days before leaving, I had sixty empty packages, a dozen squares of printed Abeego and a sign. I thought my problems were over. But...

All the long days and late nights of stressing over the new brand direction, I developed a little cough. It was still days away from my flight so I wasn't too worried. I'd get some rest between now and then. No biggie.

However, that little cough matured into the worst dry-hack cough I've ever had in my entire life. I couldn’t get three words into a sentence without a minute long, breathtaking coughing fit. I took every supplement under the sun, rested my voice as best I could and even dropped a few “Dear God” prayers to the Universe (or whoever might have been listening) for symptoms to ease before I left.

The day of the flight, I packed an overnight bag, hugged my family goodbye and boarded the plane. My symptoms had worsened to embarrassing heights. I barked and choked the entire flight. The flight attendants kept bringing me water unprompted with sympathetic looks for the people who sat beside me. I arrived 15 hours before I was required to be at CBC Studios. I grabbed some food and holed up the The Fairmont Royal York and practiced my pitch, now with a fever which bordered on hallucinatory.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep for more than 3 hours that night and when I rolled out of bed the next morning I coughed until I almost threw up. I was as far from the top shape I’d imagined when I agreed to pitch. More than nervous, I was physically unable to finish a sentence.

My mind reeled. Was I going to going to end up at Dragon’s Den fodder, land on the blooper reel and make it to air because it was painfully hilarious? Would I be the first to cough until I barfed on air? 

Watch Abeego get devoured in the den! Tune to CBC Dragons' Den March 1st at 8 pm.

Feel free to weigh in! Comment below: Deal or no deal? Barf or no barf?

Toni Desrosiers

Founder | Abeego

toni-desrosiers-pitching-abeego-dragons-denAfter 4 hours in the green room it's finally show time!

abeego-dragons-den-studioThat's a lot of cameras and ton of lights. There's nowhere to hide.

abeego-dragons-den-episode

 The first time the fresh look for Abeego had ever been out of the studio.

abeego-dragons-denRunning over my pitch with Don, my killer Dragons' Den associate producer.

abeego-dragons-denSeven am, less than 3 hours of sleep & vibrating with excitement. Seriously, I'm just trying to hold it all together.